When you're in the middle of a struggle with your preschooler, it's super easy to get bogged down in the details, whether it's making sure the clothes match, making him eat all his veggies, or just getting OUT of the store without having a major meltdown.
Quick tip for today: Think big picture. What am I trying to accomplish here? Getting dressed and out the door in time for school? (Then do matching socks really matter? And really, do they ever?) Making sure he gets enough veggies for the day? (Try another type- carrots, beets, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, need I go on?) Happiness on both of our parts? (Carry her out of the store piggy-back, saddle-back, arm-in-arm).
The point is, sometimes we get so bogged down in the details WITH kids that we forget to take ourselves out of the situation mentally and look at the bigger picture of what we're actually trying to teach or accomplish. Just a thought :)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Find one. Just kidding. Well, kind of. Guys. It’s been over 100 degrees here for 15 days straight. Fifteen. And I won’t even tell you what it feels like. Molten lava comes to mind, not that I know what that feels like, but I do think I have a pretty good idea at this point...
Okay really though, the challenge (which we haven’t had in a while, I know, I’m slacking...) is to be like a breeze. If you’ve forgot what that’s like, here’s what one looks like:
Now let’s all do a collective groan and vent about how much we can’t wait for autumn.
Are we done? Okay.
As parents, sometimes you have to try and be like the breeze and just go with things. Move freely, be flexible, sway. It’s tough, but it’s so worth it. I promise. I, for one, am the type of person who loves to be in control all the time. Guess what? Not always a good way to be. Definitely not always a good way to be with kids. When you can be flexible and sway with life, you may even discover new adventures, new things about the world that you never knew were there. It may bring about positive sides of your attitude you never knew were there :)
Now go. Sway.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A while ago I was having a conversation with a friend about her car radio breaking. She was complaining about not being able to hear traffic and news and just her poor excuse for a car in general. Then she paused. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘I do talk to my kids a lot more in the car now that our other alternative is silence.’
This made me think: Does this happen a lot? And why have we stopped talking to our kids while we’re in the car? The commute to school/karate/ballet class/church/the grocery store is the perfect venue for talking (and listening) to our children. Especially for toddlers and preschoolers, having conversations with adults is important because it teaches (and gives an outlet for practicing) two important rules of conversation:
- Question and answers – As adults, we instinctively know how this dance goes. One person asks a question, the other answers. Babies first begin to learn this when an adult asks a question they already know the answer to (“What color is this?”) and then answers it for the child (“Green!”). As children get older, they can answer questions and learn to ask other questions through practicing conversation.
- Turn taking – I think all parents will agree that this is an important skill and the basis of learning to share. It also shows up when we talk with others. We all have the friend who (bless her heart) never learned this skill and talks your ear off while you nod along and your eyes glaze over. By practicing conversation with your kiddo, you are teaching him that the best communication happens when both people have a chance to talk.
Here are some simple ways to get the conversation going while you’re on the go:
- Ask open-ended questions – about your child’s preferences, thoughts, or activities. This seems common sense but often, with children, we ask questions that can be answered in one word because we know they can (and usually will) answer. Start with these:
· Tell me about…
· How do you think we could…
· What do you think of…
- Notice rather than give your opinion – When you remark on something about your child and leave your opinion ambiguous, it encourages your child to expand on what you’ve said. Think about it. It works with adults, too. If someone says to me, ‘I love your blog!’ I will likely reply, ‘Thanks!’ But if someone says, ‘I visited your blog. I see that you post every day,’ I will probably reply in a way that gives more information and keeps the conversation, ‘I’m so glad you visited. I just have so many ideas to get out and writing is a great creative outlet for me.’ Instead of:
· Did you have fun at dance class?
· Did you see that Friday is Splash Day at school?
· I like the pictures you drew!
· I noticed that you had a big smile on your face when you left dance class today...
· I saw that something special is happening at school on Friday…
· I noticed that you used markers instead of crayons on your art…
Not only will such conversations with your kids improve their conversational skills, but also: What better way to show your kids that you love and care about them and their opinions than by encouraging them to talk and really listening when they do?
I challenge you to switch the radio OFF next time you get in the car. Can you do it?
What do you like to talk to your kids about? Leave a comment!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
A recent study that polled over 200,000 people around the globe found that parents of young children are- wait for it- not quite as happy as parents of older children. Surprised? Well, say researchers, the answers may lie in the very simple, everyday tasks that stress out parents of very young children: diaper changes, night-time wakings, temper tantrums and the like. More still, young children use resources you may not be thinking of (or maybe you are) on a day to day basis: they take time away from you and your partner, your friends, and money out of your wallet. And even though parents love the snookers out of their little ones, it's a tough job, and one that may be affecting your happiness.
The bright side? As children age, the amount of care they require diminishes- and so does your stress. Result: happiness increases. As children reach young adulthood, parents may begin to see the fruits of their labor- college, career, wedding, and grandchildren. The study found that, by age 40, parents were happier than couples who didn't have children.
What do you think? Sound off. Do you agree? Do you think it differs by culture? By gender of the child? By age at which you have a child? Tell me!
Monday, July 4, 2011
Perhaps one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to explain Independence Day to youngsters is as America’s Birthday. Below are just a few ways for you and your preschool patriot to help America celebrate:
1. Make a paper or felt flag – older kiddos may enjoy learning what the stars and stripes represent (50 states and 13 original colonies).
2. Play patriotic music and sing along! Songs like Yankee Doodle and the Star Spangled Banner aren’t just patriotic, they’re fun and a symbol or respect for our country.
3. Pick out a red, white, and blue outfit for each member of the family to wear today!
4. Color in a map of the United States and start teaching your preschooler the names of each of the 50 states.
5. End the day by watching a local fireworks show.
Have a GREAT Independence day. And maybe, if you have time, watch the annual hot dog eating contest. I love it J